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NO. 5 MAY 2003

A monthly newsletter about the Popular Education/Community Organizing Resources Collection in the Penny Lernoux Memorial Library at the Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406. It is a collection of practical materials for facilitators and practitioners to improve the educational work in our movements for democratic social change. The three main parts of the collection are 1) Materials in English, 2) Materials in Spanish, 3) Books by Paulo Freire with some titles also in Spanish. An annotated bibliography with links to where to purchase materials is at www.americas.org (follow popular education link).

This newsletter is produced by the Popular Education Resource Collection Member Circle of the Resource Center of the Americas. Betsy Barnum, Jeff Nygaard, and Larry Olds worked on this issue. You can contribute to future issues by sending suggestions, notices of materials you know about and short reviews to lolds@mtn.org.

Please help improve this newsletter.



· REVIEW OF THE MONTH - Counting Our Victories and Naming the Moment






Counting Our Victories Popular Education and Community Organizing by Denise Nadeau. Repeal the Deal Productions, 1996.

Naming the Moment Political Analysis for Action - A Manual for Community Groups by Deborah Barndt with Carlos Freire, Illustrator. The Moment Project, Jesuit Centre for Social Faith, Toronto 1989.

These two classic training guides from the Canadian Popular Education movement have recently been reprinted by the Catalyst Centre in Toronto and are again available.

The facilitator manual Counting Our Victories Popular Education and Community Organizing is one of the better items in the collection at the Resource Center of the Americas library for linking popular education to community organizing. Its theme, in fact, is using popular education for organizing. In many of the other materials the links are implied or are evident in the materials. Here the links are the explicit theme.

The workshop guide’s framework is the use of popular education for organizing in the context of the social and economic restructuring of the late 1990s. This workshop guide has a companion video; together they are designed to help groups - union locals, women’s groups, and non-governmental organizations of all kinds - use popular education to broaden organizing in the post-NAFTA era. The main idea remains to create a training kit that can help grassroots groups build their organizations, strengthen their own organizing initiatives and continue to work in coalitions with other groups.

The approach taken to popular education owes much to the years of practice and theoretical development of popular education in Central America and Mexico. Much of the inspiration for the guide (and the companion video) comes from the work of women organizers from unions, women’s organizations, anti-racist groups, and cultural organizations in Canada.

Naming the Moment Political Analysis for Action - A Manuel for Community Groups is divided into five chapters with ideas, experiences and concepts that can help groups working for social change. It introduces and defines the idea of political analysis for action, or "naming the moment." It likewise reviews the history of the concept, and situates the practice in current social movements and structures in Canada. The author describes in detail the method of naming the moment and gives examples to illustrate its four phases 1) identifying ourselves and our interests, 2) naming the issues/struggles, 3) assessing the forces, and 4) planning for action. Further, this manual discusses two applications of the method one focused on local environmental issues, and the other analyzing the free trade battle. The author suggests different ways to integrate the "naming the moment" process, or political analysis for action, into the daily life of organizations. Finally, they emphasize the importance of linking analyses across issues and across sectors.

Check out these facilitator manuals at the RCTA library or order them on the Catalyst Centre’s online bookstore at their web site listed below.

                                                            ...Review by Larry Olds



In 1987 I had the privilege of visiting Aetearoa (New Zealand) and to be hosted by Te Ataarangi, a Maori culture and language organization, for a meeting of the Asian and South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education and also a meeting of the leadership of the Peace and Human Rights Network of the International Council for Adult Education. During the first part of the conference we were hosted at Matapili o te Rangi Marae in Tokoroa on the Northern Island. The Marae is a traditional Maori meeting space. The second part of the conference was at Victoria University where we were also hosted in a Marae, this one, connected to the University, was carefully placed behind an ordinary row of houses near the campus. Both spaces where we met had large rooms richly decorated with carvings and paintings that told stories of Maori people, rooms where we all slept on mattresses spread around on the floor in a kind of giant slumber party. In the first case we gathered around and held the meetings in the same room. In the second we walked the few blocks to the University buildings and met in classrooms and conference halls.

More than any other thing, the Marae is full of music. Only a short silent time goes by before someone starts up with a guitar. Most songs are in Maori. All are group songs. Many are hymns, some have English verses, some are entirely in English. Songs were constantly being sung in the dining areas near the Marae as well as in the Marae. Music was everywhere.

After every speech there was a song even in the conference hall and for the speeches of welcome at the formal conference. The songs were chosen by the speakers as a part of their presentations. If the speaker did not lead the singing of their song, a musician with a guitar was there to help. It was a remarkable model for what is possible to enrich our plenaries and conference gatherings. Our workshops were also interrupted by Hohepa, one of the most memorable of the Te Ataarangi leaders, and a couple musicians/animators to get us on our feet for a song or two complete with hand and body movements. This is another model for the way music can be used in conference settings. Of course there was singing in the morning at 6 or 630 a.m. in the Marae as part of the daily religious service, then again a few minutes later for jazzercise, and at night for prayers. All helped to create an atmosphere of community and building solidarity. Never have I been in a place where there was more song and music.

We also worked together in the Peace and Human Rights Workshop to write lyrics in both English and Maori to the tune of "Red River Valley." Together we proposed ideas, discussed them, debated them, and settled on the following "For I care not what country you come from/ Just as long as for world peace you stand/ You are my brothers, my sisters forever/ Stand up and give me your hand." Here we were using music and lyrics as a tool of voice, a way to express ourselves and speak about our world. And we produced a simple, moving verse we could stand in solidarity and sing together.

These four examples still provide the best model I have seen for the varieties of ways that music can be used in a popular education event.

by Larry Olds



*Catalyst Centre (www.catalystcentre.ca/index.htm )

*Highlander Center (www.highlandercenter.org )

*Institute for Peoples Education and Action

(www.peopleseducation.org/ )

*Resource Center of the Americas (www.americas.org )

Project South (www.projectsouth.org )

North American Alliance for Popular and Adult Education

(www.naapae.org )

Center for Popular Education and Participatory Research (www-gse.berkeley.edu/research/pepr/ )

Popular Education Links Directory




Popular Education is

· Rooted in the real interests and struggles of ordinary people

· Overtly political and critical of the status quo

· Committed to progressive social and political change in the interests of fairer and more egalitarian society

Popular Education has the following characteristics

· Its curriculum comes out of the concrete experience and material interests of people in communities of resistance and struggle

· Its pedagogy is collective, focused primarily on group as distinct from individual learning and development

From PEN, the European Popular Education Network, in their email conference announcement, 2002


Paddling a canoe without rhythm leads to drowning - Sierra Leone proverb